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July 2011 | Angeline Albert
The size of a procurement team
should not be a barrier to encouraging the growth of local suppliers, according
to the head of buying at the Universityof West England (UWE).
Helen Baker, head of
procurement at UWE said her four-strong team had hosted seminars for SMEs in
Bristol and Bath to explain good practice in tendering for public sector
“Just because you are a small
procurement team, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. It’s not just
about savings. Clearly savings are important, but the function is also about
the wider impact an organisation can make to the local economy and small
businesses,” she told SM.
Baker’s leadership has
resulted in the team gaining national recognition for its mentoring work in the
community, which has also increased the number of small businesses supplying
UWE. The procurement team won the Outstanding Procurement Team award category
at the Times HigherLeadership and Management Awards 2011
This training of local small
businesses has also brought benefits to Bristol City Council. “The UWE
procurement team are always keen to collaborate where possible, willing to
share their experience and learn from others to improve public procurement in
the sub-region,” said Christine Storry, market development manager in the
procurement team at Bristol City Council.
“These events focus on
unravelling the complexity of the public procurement processes, where to find
tender opportunities, and alerting organisations to issues which will affect
them in their tendering process, such as equalities and sustainability.
Approximately 750 attendees have benefited from these events.”
Andy Hicken, director of
insulation firm Cabot Thermals – a small business that benefited - said: “After
attending two of Helen’s seminars on PQQs, I must say that my fear of them has
completely been banished. I can highly recommend this event to anyone who
breaks out in a cold sweat when these dreaded half-inch thick questionnaires
land on their desks.”
Other teams nominated for the
award included the London UniversitiesPurchasing Consortium, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Westminster.